The brilliant Four Felons and a Funeral is huge amounts of fun at the King’s Head Theatre, sure to take Edinburgh by storm
“I just can’t help thinking
This is just beginning”
I had hopes for GOYA Theatre Company’s Four Felons and a Funeral – a self-described “Queer, rom-com, road-trip musical” – but these were well exceeded after a glorious hour. Written by Sam Woof and with music and lyrics by Woof and Màth Roberts, there’s a properly fantastic score that is musically forthright and fresh – echoes of Jason Robert Brown, even Sondheim perhaps, but its confidence is all well-earned and homegrown.
And Woof’s book nails the not inconsiderable task of dealing sensitively with loss, queerness, the importance of chosen family, whilst also making us laugh on a regular basis. Charlie’s pals have decided to scatter his ashes in a vat of Guinness at the Dublin brewery but in order to do so, they need to steal the ashes from his dad. And also purloin his car. It’s a madcap kinda plot to be sure but played so sincerely that you buy into it straightaway.
To further complicate matters, there’s a great deal of emotional baggage between the four people now on this impromptu road trip. Wilf (Jordan Broatch) and Milly (Gabrielle Friedman) were Charlie’s best friends but also along for the ride are Bex (Maddy Maguire) Charlie’s sister and Milly’s ex-partner and Saz (Rua Barron), who is Milly’s new girlfriend and who barely knows any of them. Thus there’s a lot to pack into the hour but the show succeeds in it.
Lyrical treats abound and there’s varied and vibrant harmonising that sounds like a dream. And as we deal with friendship and fidelity, service stations and social media, we get to see each character take at least a little step forward on their own road trips to dealing with their grief, grievances and genderqueer f*ckery. All sorts of great fun.